Privilege is something hard for people to understand. It’s something we do not like recognize because we feel it invalidates our efforts or hard work. But it is real and it does exist. White privilege is something that can be hard to see because it is entrenched in a lot of everyday activities. For example, going to a store and not being followed around by an employee because they’re worried you might steal something. Another one is buying bandaids and having them probably match your skin color. Or never having to be called out in class to speak for your entire race. The list goes on and on.
One illustrator and comic artist from Auckland, Toby Morris, created a comic strip that effectively (and efficiently) breaks down privilege. This comic follows two children into adulthood, stopping along the way at major points of life. This includes going to grade school, getting jobs, going to university (or trying to go), and applying for loans. At each stage it is explained how privilege is playing out, mirroring each other. It’s a fantastic piece that is a great building block for explaining privilege for those who have not recognized their own.
Here’s the comic:
Comic Source: The Wireless
Privilege is a hard topic to talk about. As Peggy McIntosh in White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, where she came up with 26 privileges she receives for being white, states, “I repeatedly forgot each of these realizations on the list until I wrote it down.” Privilege is something we will always have to recognize in everything we do. If we think we have figured it out or “struck down” privilege, then we have to start over and illuminate our privilege once again.